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Commentary & Opinion
To Stop HIV Spread, Bridge the Divide Between "Privileged" and "Forsaken"

October 1, 2009

"With less than half the people who need treatment having access and with each day more people becoming infected with HIV than are started on treatment, we are mortgaging our future. But we are also exposing a fundamental social injustice -- between the privileged and the forsaken -- a divide we can bridge," Michael Sidibe, the executive director of UNAIDS, writes in a Daily Nation opinion piece. Although an "acceptable vaccine is not yet ready," Sidibe writes that we should "prepare today for tomorrow" and "learn from the lessons of the AIDS response thus far."

He outlines three challenges that need to be tackled. "The first challenge is access and affordability ... The second challenge is creating the conditions for massive uptake of an effective vaccine ... The third challenge is in creating health systems capable of delivering the vaccine." According to Sidibe, "The world needs a strong HIV prevention campaign that is grounded in human rights. It is high time to end discrimination, bad laws, and harmful social norms that fuel HIV transmission" (9/30).

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